The results of the study were published in the journal Space Weather.
Sending human tourists to Mars would require scientists and engineers to overcome a number of technical and safety barriers.
One of them is the serious risk posed by particulate radiation from the sun, distant stars and galaxies.
Answering two key questions would go a long way in overcoming this hurdle: is particle radiation too serious a threat to human life throughout the orbit of the red planet? And could the timing of the Mars mission help protect astronauts and spacecraft from radiation?
An international team of space scientists, including UCLA scientists, will answer “no” and “yes” to these two questions.
In other words, people should be able to travel safely to and from Mars, provided the spacecraft has adequate protection and the round trip is less than about four years.
And the timing of man’s orientation to Mars would indeed be affected: Scientists decided that the best time to take off from Earth would be when solar activity is at its peak, known as the sun’s maximum.
Scientists’ calculations show that it would be possible to protect the spacecraft tied to Mars from energy particles from the sun, because during the peak of the sun, the most dangerous and energetic particles in the farthest galaxies have bent over increased solar activity.
Such a journey could be imagined. The average flight to Mars takes about nine months, so depending on the timing of the launch and the fuel available, it is plausible that the human mission can reach the planet and return to Earth in less than two years. Yuri Shprits, UCLA researcher in research geophysics and author of the book.
“This study shows that while space radiation imposes strict limits on spacecraft pregnancy and launch time, and poses technical difficulties for human Mars missions, such a mission is feasible,” said Shprits, who is also at the GFZ Geosciences Research Center in Potsdam, Germany.
Scientists recommend the mission for up to four years, as a longer trip would expose astronauts to dangerously high levels of radiation back and forth – even if they assumed they went when it was relatively safer than at other times.
They also reported that the biggest danger for such a flight would be particles from outside our solar system.
Shprits and colleagues at UCLA, MIT, the Moscow Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, and GFZ Potsdam have combined geophysical particle radiation models for the solar cycle with models of how radiation would affect both passengers — including its various effects on different body organs.
The modeling concluded that building a spacecraft shell from a relatively thick material could help protect astronauts from radiation, but that if the shield is too thick, it could actually increase the amount of secondary radiation.
The two main types of dangerous radiation in space are solar energy particles and galactic cosmic rays; the intensity of each depends on the activity of the sun.
Galactic cosmic radiation activity is lowest within six to 12 months of peak solar activity, while the intensity of solar energy particles is highest during the sun’s maximum, Shprits noted.
Source: The Nordic Page